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 »  Articles Overview  »  Art of Translation and Interpreting  »  Translation Techniques  »  Blind translators

Blind translators

By Rene Kottke (X) | Published  08/24/2007 | Translation Techniques | Recommendation:
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Rene Kottke (X)
գերմաներենից անգլերեն translator
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How are you able to translate not even being able to see what is written on your computer screen?
Well, the answer is quite simple: you feel what is written on your braille display.
Okay, I admit that the answer is not all that simple not knowing anything about supporting equipment for the blind. But everybody has to admit that the answer itself is a at least a bit redundant. Implying that a blind is not able to translate – as translating only involves reading a text and transform it into another language – would imply that blinds are capable of living without any reading on computers. How do that?
Equipment bits: (relations to New York Yankee RSS-Feed Notes are intentional) Bynow, almost every blind person is able to read and write on pcs due to the help of braille displays. These devices transform the written text on your screens into braille which can be read by moving your fingers over expressed dots which translate to letters. Others use a talking pc to be able to read. For translating the reading by braille is the more practical thing to do. As every, or at least most, blind persons are able to read, and thus to write as everyone can handle a key board, those who want are able to translate. I don't know of any other blind person who is currently working in the translation business I have to admit, but at least for me, this business does not impose any limiting difficulties on me.
One simple devices enables me to read, thus write, proofread and to do research for my translations.
It enabled me to finish my career as a student of a regular school – not a special one- and to finally become a translator after my time at the university.
The rest is just business as usual, so to say. Most often contact between client and service provider is made by email or phone anyway. These are ways of contact which are normality for all of you and so to me.
Reading and writing emails is just as simple as reading and writing for translations and to talk on the phone is a matter of personality.
Whether or not you are successful in the business of translating is thus not a question of being visually impaired or not, but it is a question of talent, bilinguality, ability, practice and character.
The only difference between you and me: I rather use my fingers than my eyes and perhaps I listen to people more carefully. Most of my clients do not even know about my visual impairment or blindness. Why should they. I do not want to be treated differently due to sentiments or sympathy. I want my clients to appreciate the way I treat them, the way I work and I do not want them to feel responsible.
I simply want to avoid a situation like that of Alex Rodriguez shortly before he hit his 500th homer of his career. I do not want my clients to change balls for all my at-bats and do not want flash bulbs to explode prior to every pitch I take. Let the pitches head towards me and let me make my hits.
At the end, I'm just a translator afterall.

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